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"Entrepreneurs Are Often Driven by Personal Experiences"



(p. B5) Eczema entrepreneurs are often driven by personal experiences that they or their family members have had with the skin condition. Joe Paulo, for example, created Smiling Panda clothing after he had eczema as a teenager.


. . .


Mr. Paulo, 23, has already made some inroads with adults seeking relief with his Smiling Panda brand, which he started after getting eczema on his arms. The eczema appeared after he moved from California to Philadelphia in 2012 to attend college.

His eczema, he said, "got significantly worse" when he had to wear professional clothing during college internships. When even bedsheets began irritating his skin, he started researching the properties of different fibers and how clothing was made. He chose a bamboo-cotton blend for his clothing because bamboo is soft and cotton fibers allow a closer fit, he said. He began cutting and stitching his own shirts, with flat seams and no tags.

When he wore his shirts to bed, he said: "I went from having a really tough time falling asleep to having no trouble at all."

"I thought there might be other working adults interested in this type of clothing, and that comfortable clothing would help them in the same way it helped me," he said. He found a small manufacturer willing to make a batch of sizes for women and men. He chose Smiling Panda as the company name and started a website in February 2016.


. . .


Mr. Paulo said he did not know if the company would ever be profitable. "I like doing it because I feel like our products make a difference in our customers' lives," he said. "I know from personal experience how miserable clothing can be when you are itching from eczema."



For the full story, see:

Elizabeth Olson. "Personal Stories Drive Start-Ups In Eczema Products." The New York Times (Thursday, July 20, 2017): B5.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date July 19, 2017, and has the title "'The Beginning of a Wave': A.I. Tiptoes Into the Workplace.")






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